February 5, 2021
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5 Customer Behavior Trends That Are Here to Stay
As we discussed in part 1 of this blog series, there is no denying that consumer decision journeys and buying behaviors have changed, many of them forever, due to the impacts of COVID-19. Many businesses, including contact centers, are still figuring out how to pivot to address the changes that have already occurred, as well as prepare for those to come.
A recent article by McKinsey & Company indicates that consumer behaviors are emerging across all areas of life and that digital adoption has accelerated dramatically, covering what would typically take decades to achieve in mere days.
What does all this mean for contact centers? This blog looks at the results of a new industry survey conducted by Noble Systems. It outlines the top five customer behavior trends for contact centers that are here to stay.
Top Five Customer Behavior Trends That Aren’t Going Away
1. Customers are more demanding and expect better service from agents and companies.
The survey indicates that a majority of respondents have noticed changes in customer behaviors since the pandemic began. Several indicate that customers expect faster service and quick turnaround and have less patience. They are more demanding on agent performance and they want more details when it comes to their services. They also want better quality interactions, regardless of channel, and don’t want to repeat information across channels.
2. Multi-channel communication is growing
According to the survey, almost three-quarters of respondents already offer multi-channel communications to their customers, and of those who don’t, more than half are planning to add this capability. A recent No Jitter article on contact center modernization talks about the need to move beyond multi-channel and omnichannel in order to catch up to the latest consumer expectations and behaviors.
3. Customer usage of multiple communication channels is accelerating
To the consternation of their customers, some contact centers have been slow to adopt and fully integrate channels other than voice and email into their customer journey platforms. The pandemic and customer demands forced the issue and we are now seeing adoption at an accelerated rate. Survey participants have seen a shift in the past 12 months with more customers communicating on these channels:
- Chat usage is up 26%
- IVR self service has increased by 29%
- Voice continues to accelerate with gains of 43%
- Email usage is up by 44%
4. Agents are not being fully utilized for multiple channels
In some cases, contact centers have yet to integrate multiple channels into the customer journey process. In other cases, the technology is there, but agents lack the skills to fully utilize multiple channels. According to the survey, 62% of respondents are using only the voice channel. Of those who are using multiple channels, 42% are using voice and only one other channel, primarily email.
But customers continue to demand more personalized and faster, better, 24/7 service on the channel of their choice. Many prefer to find resolutions and answers using AI-enabled chatbots and virtual assistants that personalize the experience. Gartner predicts that 70% of customer conversations will involve one or more emerging technologies by 2022.
5. Predictive tools to better understand customer behaviors are not yet widely used
Only 36% of respondents indicate that they are currently using any tools to predict customer behaviors. But the general consensus by experts in the field is that predictive tools are rising to the top of the must-have list for contact centers.
In a recent article, Gartner talks about the IoB (Internet of Behavior) which refers to the collection of data from a variety of sources and the use of this data to drive behaviors. Gartner predicts that IoB will continue to impact interactions between customers and companies, transforming the way business is done, for years to come.
Part 3 of this blog series will discuss how companies can prepare now to address current and future changes in customer behavior.
Interested in learning more? Check out these related resources:
Webinar on Demand: Expert Panel Q&A: How Changing Customer Behavior Will Impact Contact Centers in 2021
Customer behavior is shifting when it comes to contact center communication. These changes have been amplified by the impact of the pandemic. Contact centers must learn to adapt and provide responsive services to retain the loyalty of their customers. What does your business need to meet these changing customer expectations? Join us as our Panel of Experts addresses issues that are critical to contact center businesses today. Don’t miss this chance to learn from industry specialists and discover how you can take advantage of the changing environment to deliver a better customer experience in 2021.
Infographic: Top 5 Customer Behavior Trends For Contact Centers
This infographic provides a snapshot of survey results from companies around the globe, highlighting how they are addressing shifting consumer expectations with advanced communication technologies.
Blog: Changing Customer Behaviors Will Impact Contact Centers in 2021
The current economic climate along with the continuing impact of the Coronavirus pandemic has put a strain on businesses worldwide to consistently deliver on ever-changing customer expectations. Although customers were initially understanding about delays, most have come to the realization that what was “normal” is gone forever. They have begun to lose patience with brands that still have not figured out how to efficiently deal with their new demands. This was especially evident with contact centers that did not have the right technologies in place or were otherwise ill-equipped to quickly pivot to an at-home service model and address extremely high call volumes when the pandemic began.